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Agenda set for restoration of Indo-Pak ties

Source: PTI
May 21, 2003 10:22 IST
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A five-point agenda has emerged for restoration of normalcy in Indo-Pak relations, according to External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha.

Two of the five items -- appointment of high commissioners and opening up of mutual airspace -- were suggested by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee while the others -- opening up of road and air links and reviving sports ties -- were mooted by his Pakistani counterpart Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, Sinha said in London on Tuesday evening.

India has already appointed an envoy, he said, adding, "We have not received any suggestion from Pakistan with respect to their new high commissioner in Delhi."

He said in the course of time 'we will be able to attend to all the five items'.

He said at some point of time the question of dialogue would also come up. "Even dialogue will have to be step by step. The first meeting will be for talks about the talks."

Asked whether there was any reduction in cross-border terrorism, Sinha said, "We are keeping a close watch on the ground situation. But the whole concept of decline is self-defeating. It has to be ended.

"It will be very good if Pakistan stops cross-border terrorism. If it is done with the involvement of any state agencies, it should stop. If it is going on despite them, then they can cooperate with us in putting it down. Both India and Pakistan are committed to fight terrorism."

Asked whether any summit-level discussion was on the cards, the minister said, "Summit will be the last stage of bilateral engagement. We should prepare the ground for the summit. Reach as many agreements as possible before the summit takes place. Lahore was a successful summit, Agra was not."

He said the Agra summit failed because of President Pervez Musharraf's 'insistence to discuss only Jammu and Kashmir to the exclusion of all other issues'.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw hosted a dinner in honour of the Indian minister on Tuesday night.

Sinha welcomed the opportunity to meet the British leader. "We have been in touch with each other over phone," he said, adding, Indo-British relations were flourishing. "We are doing very well."

Press Trust of India

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